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Chapter 12

Chapter 12

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Michael Schillaci

Chapter 12: From Hominin to Homo Hominins of Lower Pleistocene: Homo Ergaster Pleistocene epoch began 1.8 mya and saw a cooling of worlds climate o Divided into 3 parts: Lower, middle, Upper Pleistocene Lower: 1.8 mya, coincides with sharp cooling of worlds climate Middle: sharply increase fluctuations in temperature and first appearance of immense continental glaciers that covered northern Europe 900 kya, end defined by termination of penultimate glacial period about 130 kya Upper: ended about 12kya when a warm, interglacial phase of world climate began, this warm period persisted into present H. ergaster appears in African fossil record about 1.8 mya and disappears about 0.6 mya KNM-ER 3733 from Lake Turkana found in 1976, Richard Leakey o Associated with oldowan tools o H. habilis and H. ergaster may have coexisted for almost half a million years in Turkana basin of Kenya Morphology Skulls of Homo Ergaster differ from those of both earlier hominins and modern humans Marked narrowing behind eyes, receding forehead, no chin Many derived features shared by modern humans: shorter and less prognathic face, taller skull, smaller jaws and postcanine teeth, reduction in number of roots on upper premolars Derived features not seen on earlier homininsmodern humans: has horizontal ridge at back of skull (occipital torus), large browridges Better adapted for tearing and biting with canines and incisors, less suited to heavy chewing with molars- smaller teeth than australopiths and paranthropines, but molars are reduced relatively more in comparison with incisors Large browridges and point at back may been needed to buttress skull against movel stresses created by increased emphasis on tearing and biting Drier environment Nostrils face downward like humans and a projecting nose- adaptation for preserving moisture during periods of physical exertion Larger brains that earlier hominins 500-700cc Smallest: KNM-ER 42700 may be size of Homo habilis and australopiths KNM-WT 15000 was 12 year old boy o Same body proportions as people who live in tropical savannas: long legs, narrow hips, narrow shoulders, barrel-shaped cheat o Boy has short arms, compared with earlier hominins- terrestrial life Some Ergaster quite tall, boy wouldve been 6 ft tall when fully grown. Robust and heavily muscled Reduced in sexual dimorphism. Males 20-30% larger than females May not have spoken language: vertebral canal in thoracic region of back is much larger in humans than apes Committed to life on ground and was first hominin that could run for long distances May developed more slowly than australopiths but faster than humans o If correct, then Ergaster did not have long childhood as modern humans- learning not as important Tools and Subsistence Homo Ergaster made fancier tools than earlier hominins 1.6-1.4mya in Africa, they added new and more sophisticated tool to Oldowan tool Biface: toolmaker strikes large piece of rock from boulder to make a core and then flakes this core on all sides to create flattened form with sharp edge along entire circumference www.notesolution.com
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